I wanted to make this review ever since I was able to attend the advanced screening of Jack the Giant Slayer. However, because of reasons like, this blog never existed yet when I watched the screening and I was too lazy to make a blog, I was never really able to write it. However, when I overhead how people have been wanting to watch this movie, I wasn’t able to resist. If you don’t mind some minor spoilers, then read ahead.
The biggest gripe I have with this movie is the characters. I’ll start with Jack, the obvious protagonist of the story since his name is the title of the movie.
Unfortunately, the Jack we have in this movie is a dull beardless farmer boy with a bad haircut who is also not a pirate. The problem I had with his character is his lack of appeal. He is the typical overeager guy looking to prove himself, except his eagerness is the type that is both bland and embarrassing to watch. Heck, in the first few minutes of the movie we get to see how he goes love at first sight on the princess of their kingdom, tries to defend her, but gets punched because, you know, he’s supposed to be helpless and pitiful. Which is the usual trappings of all overeager guys looking to prove themselves.
Throughout the movie, we are being convinced that Jack is not the lame helpless weakling that he is, but in fact a courageous man destined to slay giants and save the princess. Except, there is really no character development to prove otherwise. Suddenly, he’s just out there, slaying giants, and saying one-liners. There is nothing interesting about Jack, and the only inner conflict that he was able to solve is that he conquered his fear of heights. Nothing about his beta male personality really changed and the movie keeps on trying to tell us that he’s supposed to be awesome. Also, I wouldn’t call him a giant slayer as all his actions didn’t really make a convincing slaying. He was able to kill those giants because of sheer coincidences, like it just happened that there is a knife directly above that giant, or the giant happened to take a nap at the edge of the cliff, or Jack happened to have the last beanstalk just in time to put it on the giant leader’s mouth.
The princess, on the other hand, had no character development at all. She was made to be the damsel in distress, that’s it. Nothing. She’s a waste of character since she doesn’t even have a defined personality at all. It was like she was just written so Jack can ogle at him and give him a reason to climb the beanstalk. To contribute to this, I can’t remember her name so I had to actually search the web and apparently, her name is Isabelle.
Next is the King, whose name I also cannot remember. His main role is to worry about the budding romance(?) of Jack and the princess, because that’s perfectly normal. Yes, there is no boundaries in love, social class doesn’t matter, but of course the King would be worried! His daughter, a princess, is basically being paired to a poor farmer boy! Just imagine someone who probably haven’t received any education in their lives, has no experience in the political scene, no military training or whatsoever, and he would run their kingdom? Nuh-uh am I going to take that chance. Well, I know this is supposed to be a movie but there are also reasons why I don’t approve of this relationship (hint: it has something to do with Ewan McGregor’s character).
The biggest problem would probably be not establishing who the supposed antagonist is. If you look at the title, you would assume that the giants are the central antagonist. But if you watch the movie, it is established that Lord Roderick is the central antagonist. Then, in the middle of the movie, the leader of the giants is established as the central antagonist. The movie tells that by raising a lot of “I’m Evil” flags all over the place, like saying “I will crush the puny humans” or “kittens should get kicked by a horse and die” lines. But, towards the end, the giant leader’s right-hand man suddenly takes the evil spotlight. Seriously. Who am I supposed to blame for all the non-existent suffering, pain, and tragedy that happened to our beloved protagonist?!
If I would select a villain, then it would be Lord Roderick. Why? Well, first of all, he’s a power-hungry greedy bastard who wants world-domination. Two, he has a follower who killed people. Three, he actually killed innocent people especially members of the elite guards. Four, he wants to enslave the giants under his control. Five, he was the one who actually plotted to use the beanstalk in the first place. So don’t get too convinced that the giants are the villains, even if they do want to eat humans. The giants were living peaceful lives until the humans came and disturbed them hundreds of years ago, and it just so happens that humans have bothered them again currently. Also, it is highly possible that they are sexually frustrated.
Finally, our main character, Elmont, played by Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Wait, what? He’s not the main character? Well, shit, throughout the movie, he’s the one that actually looked like one. You know since he’s actually the one whose friends and comrades got killed because of Lord Roderick’s evil deeds. Whose best friend was eaten by a giant. The one who got captured and put in an oven to be turned to human shawarma. The one who actually fought the main villain, Roderick, while under the time-pressure of the giants wanting to crush him. The one who led the defense of the city against hungry giants looking for human kebabs. Aside from that, he has known the princess for a long time, and genuinely cares for her, but gets friendzoned because, you know, Jack is more awesome than him.
Lastly, I just have to point out the fact that the movie doesn’t know its own tone. The first part is clearly established as a light-hearted fantasy romance about a beloved fairy tale character who wants to save the girl, complete with a silly and goofy cast that turns all situations to opportunities to say “funny” one-liners. Then suddenly, the second part turns to Lord of the Rings fantasy action whose taking everything seriously. The problem with this is that I can’t take it seriously, because I’m really expecting that someone would do something goofy or spout some nonsense, fortunately/unfortunately, nobody did.
Do I recommend this movie? Personally, I’d say no. If someone’s going to treat you and pay for you, then by all means watch it–if you don’t mind a mediocre plot and bland characters. If you like some CGI orgasm, you could also watch this. In defense of the movie, it does have some decent action scenes, too.